stories about camp

our own breed.

(anytime i look at my stats and see pageviews today: 0, pageviews yesterday, 0, i have the most overwhelming urge to write something.
but i usually can’t think of anything.
i can today.)
there are some things that can only be understood by camp staffers. things only we laugh at, things only we cry about.
sometimes just spilling out camp stories to anyone who will listen is enough to make the missing-ness go away, but then sometimes you just HAVE to see or talk to someone who went through it with you. the phrase “you had to be there” is such an understatement.
being part of something special makes you special; 
for instance: we use the same kind of cups at school that we do at camp. just like the ones at camp, they are VERY difficult to pull apart when you stack them. but unlike at camp, no one tells anyone to not stack them; they actually store them stacked up in a big basket. anyways, whenever someone sends a big stack of cups into the dishpit when i’m working, i always want to make some kind of comment on what flory would say if she had to unstack all those, but of course no one i work with would understand.
i love and hate camp for the same reason: it’s mine. it’s separate from all my friends at home. love it because that makes it special, hate it because i’m so rarely around the people who i shared it with.
a few days ago, hope and kathleen and jenna all started flooding my facebook with links from i hadn’t meant to come home until thanksgiving break, but i had to check it out and ciu blocked tumblr, so i caved. i’ve been on it for an hour copying pictures from it and it is the best blog i have ever read.
through it i found two other blogs(also on tumblr. seriously ciu! 99% of us are NOT using it for porn, stop making us suffer!) like it. and i forget that there are other camps out there. they are also full of people who love what they do, and those people also miss it.
i feel so crazy for missing my camp so much all the time, hate how attached i am, complain about how i wish i was one of those “normal” counselors who goes to camp, loves their time there, then leaves and goes about with life just fine until the next summer.
but now i see that for us, thinking of camp everywhere IS normal. it’s a relief to see i’m not the only one.

stories about camp

excerpts from the best blog EVER!

TRUTH. i got my mickey mouse towel from camp.(only i was a camper; someone had left it the week before and my cabin leader let me have it) and we all love hope’s wizards of waverly place one.

i do bruise easier than a rotting peach…but i also don’t shower very often(AT CAMP we’re talking). it’s harder to tell than you would think.

i just really love that this is number 15, since my birthday is on the 15th, of july, and it’s something like christmas.

we ALL know what i’m thinking of for us la vida people…

i beg to differ; the experienced, in-the-know people carry bug spray everywhere. though actually i usually forget about it or don’t have the time to use it.

i don’t have a tumblr because my tyrannical school blocked it, but my blogger name did come from camp.(well the linder did. the ciu is obviously my school, and the 13 is when i’ll graduate)

see the dirt and bruises one. me and kathleen know all about this.

correction: lights out is when the girls are done with showers(which is rarely much before actual lights out anyways). unless you’re all having fun, nobody’s homesick, nobody’s killing each other, nobody’s annoying you; then you get to have fun when showers are over. you might even stay up a liiiiitle bit past lights out…but i’ve only ever done that with two groups. it’s pretty rare that you love a whole group so much that you don’t want them to go to bed.

 we all know it’s true. the annoying ones are usually the ones who think they’re the awesome ones; the awesome ones usually think they’re somewhere in between; and the somewhere in betweens usually don’t think about what anyone thinks of them.

my opinion since 7th grade.

can, and do.

this is why i hate going home on weekends.

why i can take acteens in small doses.

oh yes. i say “everyone should be able to walk as fast as me, or as slow as me.” the little ones always look at me funny when i say that; the older ones laugh.

the staff reunion is the happiest time of the year for me, aside from the actual summer.

if you could see us on weekends…

if my campers ever sing the moose song, it’s never because i taught it to them.

stories about camp

top 5 funniest/most ridiculous la vida moments of all time.

all time meaning, of course, from june 2008 to now.

5. “we have a problem in cabin 10…it’s regarding the tooth fairy.”
4. when we watched a walk to remember, and cindy cried.
3. the time that a mother came to la vida, wanting to pick up her child who was actually over at white oak.
2. the squirrel in cabin 9.
1. me and jenna and brittany and my bed…

stories about camp

on not settling.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” 

don’t worry, steve jobs. i found it when i was sixteen. and i’m still there.

stories about camp

jericho and ai.

read the black for the main points.
read the blue for further elaboration on them.
read the red for sidenotes that aren’t absolutely necessary.
so you can read just the black, or the black and the blue, or all of it, but not just the blue or just the red.

today was the most amazing chapel message i’ve heard as long as i’ve been at ciu. by amazing, i mean spoken-straight-from-God-to-me. i’ve had a good few of those, but usually those make me kinda mad since they usually are the convicting kind that mean God wants me to start doing something that i kinda don’t want to. but this was just the comforting, check-this-out-i’m-bigger-than-you-but-i-love-you-anyways-isn’t-that-awesome kind.
dr murray was of course the one speaking; he’s my fourth favorite of everybody(after jeremy kingsley, bill jones, and adrien despres).
he talked about jericho and ai, and what we should learn from each.
and he described my past two summers at camp.
jericho is all about joy and victory. everything goes right, you and Jesus are on top of the world together, and you can’t wait for the next chance to do something like it again.
that was 2010. i’ve already written plenty about it, so here i’ll just remind you that it was unbelievable. “joy” is always among the first words that come to my mind when i think about that summer, but it was full of victories on victories too, whether camper-wise, friendship-wise, or personal me-and-God-wise.
i left that summer so incredibly excited for the next one.
but i did NOT take away the lesson that we’re supposed to learn from jericho experiences.


or to put it in more specific terms: no amount of victory in your past assures me of victory in my present.

that was the first great mistake of 2011. it hadn’t even begun yet and i was already totally assuming “okay, i’ve got this, last summer rocked, i’m great at what i do, this won’t be difficult at all” and other such big-headed thinking. and i completely expected it to go down just as well, if not better, than 2010. i was constantly comparing the two in my head.
2011 was an ai experience. ai is all about “sadness and defeat.” there are no two better words for this summer. “sadness” especially for orientation and week 1, (week 2 was actually a randomly thrown in jericho) “defeat” especially for week 3(i have nightmares about that week. i never ever want to think about that week), but the whole summer was full of good amounts of both.
what are we supposed to take from ai?

narrow it down: no amount of defeat in my past need rob me of victory in my present.

and that is the more important lesson of the two, for me at least. i don’t struggle so much with getting prideful about my past victories as i do letting past defeats ruin all my other attempts at anything.
on a less important-to-life note, i do this in soccer too: the first shot that comes at me determines how the entire game goes(or even just a practice). if i block it, i have a great game. if i miss it, i lose all confidence i may have had and let in every single shot after.
after week 3 was when i shut down for the whole summer. all my mistakes from that week just haunted me every single day: i’m a bad cabin leader. i don’t know how to love my girls or get them to listen to me anymore. maybe i’m not supposed to be here. and i can’t sing.(this horrible child told me she hates it when i sing to them at night, and when she said that, four others agreed and said they just hadn’t wanted to say anything)
but while that was definitely the worst week of my career, there wasn’t a reason in the world for it to affect the rest of the summer. just because i had one bad week doesn’t mean the rest couldn’t be great. but i kept letting it ruin me. i had plenty of “good” weeks but i couldn’t appreciate them because i was too busy worrying about whether i was a failure or not.
plus i didn’t want to tell anybody how bad i was struggling because i was afraid to get everyone freaking out. all summer long i had heard nothing but “linda’s been here longer than anyone else” “linda knows everything” etc etc. instead of giving me a big head, like this could very easily do, it terrified me. especially when people kept saying those things after i was having such a hard time, i didn’t know how to ask anyone to pray for me. so that just added to all the other stress in my life.
i’ve said so many times that i wasted my summer. but i didn’t realize just how much until today. now i’m that much more excited to go back. i know how to deal, and i know how to tell people when i can’t deal. and mostly, because(yes, i do realize i’m a broken record) God wants me there. he made me for that place. that unexplainable, borderline-obsessive love i have for it couldn’t come from anywhere but God himself.
in the end, i always choose camp. i may pitch a fit about it sometimes, or say crazy things like referring to future staff as “them” instead of “we”, but God always knocks sense into my head somehow; sometimes he has to make me super sick and show me how wrong it feels to not be at camp, or sometimes hope has to yell at me, or sometimes one of my campers has to write me an amazing note. but somehow or another, i remember where my home is.

stories about camp

christmas and camp.

today i just got randomly excited about both these favorite things of mine.
both reasons why semester endings don’t make me sad at all.
i miss camp. so much. i just want to be back right now. i miss my girls. i miss singing them to sleep at night. i miss loving on them every day and crying when they leave me. i miss worship. i miss chicken fingers. i miss jenna. i miss chi chi. i miss sam. i miss kathleen. i miss ashley. i miss chana. i miss hope. i miss getting notes. i miss hugs. i miss singing the lazy song, or banana pancakes, or cyclone ;]
i miss all the little things. (i never thought that they’d mean everything to me…no. i’m gonna be original this time.)
but it’s okay. we’ll be back in about 244 days, give or take a few. for now, i’m gonna try to focus on the school that i spent my summer missing.
i’ve decided i need to get better at being happy with where i am. i miss too many things. it’s like wherever i am, i miss someplace else. once i get to the someplace else, i find something new to miss. but i don’t like that. it kinda sucks.
i wonder how you do that? it probably requires a lot of being normal…which i’m not good at. ah well.
and there are 90 days until christmas. i guess that’s too early to start shopping. but i WANT to. =]

stories about camp

so weird.

for about two minutes, just now, i was mentally listing the things i need to do before 4:30 when i head back to camp.
then reality hit me like a train and reminded me that it’s been six weeks. i’m not going back to camp until june.
i wonder if i’m going crazy, or if it’s just that dr crutchfield’s theory about not properly grieving, and how it does things to you, is right. he says you HAVE to cry, and you HAVE to talk about it, and you have to do that as soon as possible.
not that “grieving” is the right word, but i’m one of those people who really really needs closure, with anything. things need to sink in or they mess me up.
maybe i just swept it under the rug too soon this year. maybe i actually NEED to cry and mope for a weekend when i first get back. that’s what i’ve always done before, and it’s always got good and sunk in, and okay with me, that it was over.
why didn’t they tell me that the day we left???

stories about camp

what *camp la vida* ought to do for you.

my friend who’s a younglife leader tweeted a link to this blog post. it of course said “what being in younglife ministry ought to do for you”, but i read it and every word also applies to camp(and actually any ministry).

i wish i had read this this summer.


It ought to be so unreachably big that you can only see it

through the eyes of Christ by faith.

It ought to be harder than you can handle on your own

so as to make you more dependent on God.

It ought to give you enough disappointments

to make you humble and break your spiritual pride.

It ought to be difficult enough to make you weep

for others that you might become more compassionate.

It ought to have enough demanding,insensitive,

ungrateful people in it to teach you to love like Jesus loves.

It ought to have enough impossible,insurmountable

obstacles in it to teach you the goodness and power of God.

It ought to teach you how to love when you’re tired,

give when you’re spent and pray when you’re weary.

It ought to teach you how to turn your mourning into dancing,

your sadness into joy and your sorrow into laughter.

It ought to teach you the power and truth of God’s word,

the strength of His voice and the might of His commands.

It ought to teach you to love the only One worthy of all our love;

the One who became poor that we might become rich;

the One who became sin that we might become the righteousness of God.

A true ministry is the ministry that helps you become:

more like Jesus Christ

more in love with God

more in love with people.


was that how your summer went?

stories about camp

if they could see me now…

my friends at camp don’t believe that i’m quiet, usually lonely, and mostly invisible, at school.

my friends at school don’t believe that i’m loud, happy, energetic, slightly obnoxious, undeservedly famous, and loved half to death by everyone who’s had a two minute conversation with me, at camp.

lots of times at camp i’ll find myself wondering what my other friends would think if they knew how i am at camp. i’m not sure if they’d wonder why i’m so different at school, or if they’d be thanking God that i keep myself shut up most of the time(because honestly, in any other context i think my camp self gets on the world’s nerves). i wish so often that they could see that side of me.

and at school, when i’m missing my camp friends, i imagine what they would say if they showed up one day and saw how i am outside of camp. some would be mad at anyone who doesn’t talk to me, some would get all worried and ask me endless questions about why in the world i’m like this, and every one of them would never stop talking about how much all these poor ciu people are missing out on by not knowing who i really am. but mostly they’d just be worried.

it’s funny. i don’t know why any of this is. i’m happy in both places. but they’re so different. i guess it just happened that way.

but i love my life. both ways. =]

stories about camp

everything is okay.

i miss school. i miss my roommates, i miss my teachers, i miss learning, i miss homework, i miss running every day, i miss my room.
but i’m not there yet. i’m still at camp. and i’m happy about that, but i’m not used to missing anything there. no part of me ever looks forward to leaving. i’ve actually said things along the lines of “rrrrrr i miss jamie, can we just fast forward the rest of summer?” more than once. joking of course. i love camp. i want to be here. but it’ll be weird to not be totally broken when i have to leave again.
this is probably how most people feel about camp. maybe this is normal and healthy. and i’m not normal and healthy about many things…but i can get used to anything.
i’m realizing that it’s okay to feel okay about not being here every single second. if i go a day or two without thinking about it, it won’t mean that i love it any less. it just means i finally have other places that feel like home.
which is still weird. but it is okay.
i’ve been telling myself that a lot. or more like, God has been telling me that a lot. or trying. it took five wasted weeks for me to finally hear but…it’s okay.
it’s okay that i don’t have answers for everybody.
it’s okay that i’ve been here four years and have no desire to be a unit leader.
it’s okay that i’ve been here four years and don’t feel like i know anything more than i did when i was sixteen.
it’s okay that i get tired sometimes.
it’s okay if i ask for help now and then.
it’s okay that i can’t always give my campers everything they need.
it’s okay that my campers don’t always love me.
it’s okay if not everyone on staff loves me.
it’s okay if sometimes i actually want to be out of camp.
it’s even okay if sometimes i wonder why God has me here.
(now a lot of this, i only know in my head. most of them haven’t sunk down to my heart yet, but at least i know that God wants me to believe them)
but none of this is okay if i’m not focused on God through it all.
and i am. finally.
i still don’t understand so many things. i pray for answers every night until my head hurts. the only thing i’m sure of, is that i’m obeying and God is working. and if i focus on that, instead of the fact that i have no idea what’s going on, then i’m okay.